Disney animated films have always had a deeper meaning, most we often overlooked. But looking back at them now, that’s exactly what makes them timeless, ageless, and ever-enduring.
Disney+ has been out for a little over a year now and has over 74 million subscribers, all aching to see the animated classics that have been close to our hearts. Since Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs was released in 1937 we have been enwrapped with these fairy tales with beautiful artwork and compelling story-telling. But why?
These movies have always had one audience: children. Watching them as children, the message sometimes went over our heads; I know it did for me. The big words were hard to understand and I always got distracted by memorizing and singing the songs to truly care about the message. Beauty and the Beast’s message was “Don’t judge a book by its cover”, The Incredibles taught the importance of family, and Lion King urged the importance of moving on from the past, the list goes on. While these themes and lessons were important, all I saw on the screen as a child was a pretty princess, a family with superpowers, and animals who could sing.
It’s our parents who took us to see the movies who understood the adult messages. Thus making a beautiful cycle, or a circle of life if you will. Because when the children grow up and rewatch these beloved movies, you finally understand the big words, the conflict, the perseverance, and the plot. And then they show their own children to fall in love and slightly obsess over them, and it goes on and on, and that’s what happened to me. That “oh that’s what it meant” moment. To really understand the deeper meaning of “faith, trust, and pixie dust”.
The old VHS tapes on the shelf grew a whole new sense of value. That in my opinion is why Disney has nailed the art of creating timeless stories that have lasted so long and will last throughout the ages. They compose music for the children to sing along to (much to the parents’ dismay) and woven beautiful imagery that captures the attention of the child in all of us. And when the children grow up and look back at their childhood on screen, we fall back on their words that have an everlasting impression on us.
Look for yourself, go to YouTube and type in “motivational Disney videos”. Creators have mashed up significant lines from each of these tales and weave them together to inspire. That anything is possible, if you fail it’s ok just try again, it doesn’t matter where you come from it’s where you go, it’s ok to be afraid at times. The list goes on and it’s a beautiful and slightly emotional experience when you understand the meaning behind it all. Watching characters like Hercules, Wall-e, Princess Tiana, and Dory do impossible things helps me believe that I can do anything, even when I feel like I can’t. And believing helps make that impossible that more possible.
And now that Disney is developing movies with a cultural background, we feel even more connected to these characters. Seeing a character with the same essence as yourself is amazing. As a Hispanic, watching Coco was truly heartwarming, seeing my traditions and heritage captured on screen was beautiful to see. Family is everything to me, storytelling to keep our loved ones alive who have passed on, and the music tied everything splendidly. It makes me almost eager to have kids to show them these movies and grow up with these lessons.
And if they can’t understand at that moment, allow me the opportunity to divulge the message to them. To teach them about perseverance, faith, love, bravery, to explore, be bold, and daring. These movies are precious to everyone for individual reasons, and the need to share them with someone is the achievement of storytelling. The need to share, continue the experience, and most importantly teach.
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Been writing all my life, and it’s humbling to see it published. Lover of all things nerdy, gamer, pop culture, and most of all DISNEY. I may not know it all, but give me time and a laptop.